seal  Purdue News

July 25, 2003

Hearing study seeks adult participants

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Healthy adults are needed for a Purdue University study that could help improve how the elderly hear while riding in cars.

The research, which is being conducted by Aimée Surprenant, professor of psychology in the School of Liberal Arts, needs 50 adults older than 40, who are native speakers of American English, to participate in the study.

The goal for this research is to understand what sound characteristics in automobiles significantly contribute to older adult's difficulty in hearing.

"By 2030, it is estimated that 30 percent of the American population will be 55 years or older," said Surprenant, an expert in sensory/cognitive declines as a function of age. "Unlike in the past, these individuals are increasingly affluent, active and mobile. Many members of this population continue to keep driving longer than their parents did. However, we do not have a good characterization of what a typical older driver prefers in sound quality of an automobile interior, making it difficult to tailor interior sound for this market segment."

Surprenant said that as a result of the increase in hearing loss among the older population design targets for a younger population may be inappropriate for drivers.

Participants receive a free hearing screening and $15 for participating in the 90-minute study.

Patricia Davies, professor of mechanical engineering, also is part of the research team. The research is funded by Ford Motor Co.

For more information about being part of the study, contact Meghan Saweikis, graduate research assistant, at (765) 494-9269,

Sources: Aimée Surprenant, (765) 494-9269

Meghan Saweikis, (765) 494-9269,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web sites:
Perception-Based Engineering
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